Mulching lawn mowers are at the forefront of the "grasscycling" movement, which encourages homeowners to minimize throwing away grass clippings as yard waste. Many mulching mowers can be used for mulching or bagging, and have optional side or rear discharge. No matter which model you are considering, there are a number of benefits, options and requirements associated with the use of these specialty lawn tools.
Push vs. Riding Mowers
In addition to push mowers, riding mowers also offer mulching capabilities. Opt for a push mower for a smaller yard. A riding mower is a good choice for larger properties. Converting an older riding mower into a mulching mower requires a a mulching kit, which contains a mulching blade and a cover for the discharge chute; a special deck may be necessary for some riding mowers.
Gas vs. Electric
A mulching lawn mower uses more power than a standard model, because it cuts each blade of grass more often than just once. This makes the gasoline powered models a better choice for large lawns. For a very small lawn, an electric model may suffice. Electric models make much less noise and don't produce any exhaust fumes.
Cordless Electric vs. Corded
A corded electric mulching mower maintains consistent cutting power. Its downside is the dependence on access to a power source that falls within the cord's reach, which may be as long as 100 feet.
Cordless electric mowers rely on a fully charged battery for power. Failure to charge the battery may leave the homeowner with more lawn to mow than the tool has power to complete. An intriguing accessory for some battery-powered mulching mowers is the optional solar panel charger. This panel charges the batteries---sometimes within two to five days---during daylight hours.
Side Discharge vs. Bagging
It is possible to convert some mulching mowers to side discharge clippings. Before making the purchase, find out if the mulching mower comes with a movable mulcher door and side-discharge chute. The chute prevents debris from harming the legs and arms of the operator. It is possible to convert a mulching riding mower to a side-discharge mower by keeping the mulching blades in place but installing the discharge chute.
Other accessories of interest are bags, which can be installed in the rear or on the side, depending on the model of your mower. With the bagger attached, the mower will not finely chop the grass as when it is in mulching mode, but the clippings can be put into compost heaps or used for organic mulch.